Archive for February 2012 | Monthly archive page
No doubt about it, writing is hard.
First off, it’s not easy to make the time to sit down in front of the computer. Life — in the form of work commitments and family time — so often gets in the way. Yet we do it week in and week out. Why? Because we love what we do, hard or not.
Getting the characters in your head to behave on paper can be even more of a challenge. My characters, at least, have a penchant for doing exactly what they want instead of what I’d like them to do. I implore, beg, plead and sometimes resort to trickery and still they take off in their own, often unexpected direction.
But the hardest part of writing, by far, is revising.
I know, I know. Plotters will argue that having a road map before writing would eliminate the need for so much rewriting. That may well be true. Alas, I am a pantster through and through. More than half the time, I start scenes with no clear idea where they’re going. They begin as a way to work in a particular line of dialogue or funny situation.
That’s how I wrote my first manuscript — and is no doubt why it’s giving me fits in this, its fourth revision. As I go back in to beef up the “scandal at the hero’s school” conflict (completely nonexistent in the first draft), I’m finding entire scenes that no longer have a point and will have to be excised. Good scenes … funny scenes … but they just don’t fit.
You know what they say: If it does not fit, you must —
Wait a minute. How’d OJ’s lawyer get in here?
But seriously, folks: A scene that doesn’t work anymore simply must go. On Saturday, while sitting at a table in Starbucks, I ended up hacking two scenes — about 2,000 words total. Hence the “ye-ouch” in the title of this post.
It’s painful — really and truly grueling, to strip moments I love from my story … to “kill the darlings,” as it were.
But if it strengthens the story and leads to a publishing contract, I’ll get over the hurt. (Don’t tell Brad and Erin, my hero and heroine, I said this, but it’s even kind of fun to torture them a little bit.)
Over on my other blog, I regularly collect links to share. Sometimes they’re articles that challenge me. Other times they just make me laugh — something we all should do more often. But they’re always worth a read.
I’ve been saving up a few writing-related items. Enjoy!
— Someone I follow on Twitter recently tweeted a link to a Shelf Awareness article on “where the readers are.” Curious, I had to click over — and was surprised to see Washington D.C. at the top of the list. Politicians read? You sure can’t tell from the crap that comes spewing out of their mouths. (That’s as political as I’ll ever get on this blog. Promise. My opinions about the state of the nation have no place in a blog dedicated to romantic comedy.)
— When I spotted a link to Roni Loren’s post on the three things you can do now to prepare for published authorhood, I was intrigued. Was it really back in November? How time flies when you’re writing/rewriting up a storm! The tips apply now as much as they did three months ago, though, so I don’t feel too guilty for sharing it a little late. Number three, finding balance, is a particular favorite of mine … probably because it’s one I still struggle with constantly. Sounds like I need to get it in gear before I’m published, though.
— My NaNoWriMo friend and sometimes beta reader, Jamie Raintree, is embarking on a new group blog adventure. Called Hugs and Chocolate, it promises to “inspire, motivate, and inform writers of all levels about different aspects of the publishing industry.” I can’t wait to see great things from this group. Maybe they’ll ask me to write a guest post somewhere along the way. I’m hoping to start doing more guest blogging in 2012.
— Former uber-agent and author Nathan Bransford shared a post from Chuck Wendig at TerribleMinds: the 25 things writers should know about agents. Great laughs in there, along with some reminders that agents aren’t demigods bent on destroying the dreams of wannabe authors, just professionals who love books.
— Books from my Starcatcher sisters are (finally!) starting to make waves. Sara Ramsey’s debut Regency romance, “Heiress without a Cause,” was released last week. Montlake published Robin Perini‘s “In Her Sights” not too long ago, and Harlequin Intrigue will release “Finding Her Son” in March. Mark my words: The 2011 Golden Heart finalists have lots of fantastic stories to tell.